Phones, Funds, Foundation: My Summer as the Alumni Intern


A Reflection by Kelsi Maddock

BISFA Foundation 2020 Summer Intern

The conference table became my desk. I had a window to my right and a faux plant behind my laptop screen. Outlook lost itself in the open tabs of my internet browser. Every week from early May to late August, I returned to South Potomac Street to intern for the Barbara Ingram Foundation.

I graduated from the Creative Writing department in 2017, and the chance to return to my alma mater for a college internship credit with resume-building experience was an opportunity I could not pass up.

On Wednesdays, I went into the office and learned hands-on how a non-profit organization worked.

Summer Arts Academy - Creative Writing (via Zoom)

Summer Arts Academy
Creative Writing (via Zoom)

A single filing cabinet was not enough to track student grant proposals and keep a record of board meeting minutes, so the Foundation kept four. Executive Director Mimi Dickinson began her next Zoom meeting and Office Coordinator Jennifer Jensen updated the website with new information on the Summer Arts Academy. I created spread sheets of information regarding the debut of the Alumni Association and drafted thank you letters for donors.

My internship helped me achieve professional growth. There are a lot of career skills a classroom cannot teach you.

The first day I was in the office, I made calls thanking donors for their Giving Tuesday contributions. Some conversations had long pauses while the messages I left were a bit rushed. With the help of a bullet-list script and many phone calls later, I could have a brief business conversation.

Proud Big Sister

Proud Big Sister

I contributed to meetings on fundraising and diversity. While speaking with the “Hearts for the Arts” committee, I shared a list of fund distributions based on majors to be used in our promotional materials. During the diversity call, I suggested we look at smaller means of integration to coincide with the larger changes.

Being the Summer Alumni Intern also helped me grow as a person.

I practiced time management skills, as I worked early morning hours part-time at FedEx along with my internship. More importantly, I found confidence in my voice, especially when expressing creative or innovative ideas. This was shown in my conference call contributions, but my favorite example is my Summer Arts Academy post card letter and design.

And I taught a Zoom creative writing camp for the Summer Arts Academy! It was equal parts terrifying and thrilling; I came up with a lesson plan heavily modeled on my years as a Barbara Ingram Creative Writing student where we studied prose, poetry, workshop, and performance. I even wrote a piece of my own—something I had not done in an unfortunately long while.

What made interning at the Barbara Ingram Foundation even more special was my involvement in celebrating the graduates, which included my brother: trombonist Hunter Maddock. I assisted in hanging lamp post signs and worked behind the scenes on the social media contest coinciding with them. I even designed a map of the walk—Hunter’s sign looked over Public Square.

Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant I was unable to meet donors in person, I am returning to Colby-Sawyer College, where I double major in creative writing and communication studies, for my last semester with a fulfilling experience to share with my peers. When I apply for my first job after college, I will be able to look back on this experience and realize how much it prepared me for my future career.